Miami 62, Oklahoma State 59
Wednesday, March 15th 2006, 5:34 AM CST
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- Robert Hite and Guillermo Diaz each scored 15 points and Miami survived a frantic late rally to beat Oklahoma State 62-59 in a National Invitation Tournament opening-round game Wednesday.
Miami finished with a season-high 14 steals in what was just the fifth all-time win in postseason play for the Hurricanes (17-15), who were hosting a postseason game for the first time in school history.
The Hurricanes led 28-20 at halftime and went ahead 46-32 after Hite hit a 3-pointer with 10:35 remaining in the game. Oklahoma State responded with an 18-8 run, pulling to within 54-50 when Mario Boggan converted one of two free throw attempts with 2:27
Boggan scored a game-high 16 points for the Cowboys (17-16), who dropped a first-round NIT game for the first time since 1956.
Miami then scored four points during a 15-second span, taking a 58-50 lead on a layup by Denis Clemente with 45 seconds remaining. But Byron Eaton responded by draining back-to-back 3-pointers, pulling the Cowboys to within 58-53 with 37 seconds to play.
Eaton's second 3-pointer came off a turnover by Hite. Diaz was fouled and converted a pair of free throws to put the Hurricanes up 60-56 with 27 seconds left.
Oklahoma State responded with another 3-pointer, this one from JamesOn Curry with 22.1 seconds left. Curry's shot cut Miami's lead to 60-59.
Hite was fouled with 20.0 seconds left, but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Oklahoma State's David Monds had a look at a wide open layup with seven seconds remaining, but the shot rimmed out and bounced out of bounds.
Diaz converted a pair of free throws with 4.1 seconds left to give Miami a 62-59 lead, and Eaton misfired on a last-second 3-point attempt.
With the win, Miami advances to the second round of the NIT for the first time since 1963. The Hurricanes will play the winner of Thursday's game between Creighton (19-9) and Akron (23-9).